February 11th, 2009
04:25 PM ET

I blame society

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/HEALTH/02/05/birdflu.virus/art.chickens.gi.jpg caption="Human-to-human transmission of avian flu is rare, but in some cases, the virus has passed from poultry to humans. There's a good chance Jack has confused bird flu with the common cold."]

Jack Gray
AC360° Associate Producer

There is nothing worse than a drama queen.  A thought that came to me as I lay in bed this morning clinging to life.  You see, I am suffering from bird flu.  All the signs are there.  Headache, sore throat, runny nose.  Definitely bird flu.

Have no fear, though, I am getting medical treatment.  In fact, I did what anyone with nasal congestion should do:  I called my doctor at 3am.  Unfortunately, there must have been a problem with the phone line because as soon as I said, “Hi Doc, I’ve been coughing all night, I’ll need you to phone me in a prescription for twenty-five Vicodin,” I heard a dial tone.

So, today, I experience that grandest of American traditions:  the sick day.  The concept being that, by staying home, I will recuperate faster and my co-workers will be spared from catching what I have…in this case, bird flu.

But, as we all know, no one at work ever believes you’re sick.  You could be at home in an iron lung and your colleagues would still be walking around the office saying, “Did you hear about Jack?  Yeah, he took a (makes quote marks with their hands) sick day.”

And the thing about being sick in New York is no one cares.  Seriously.  No one.  Not my mailman.  Not Susan Sarandon.  Definitely not my dog.  I got a text message from her that read “If you say you’re sick as a dog one more time I will end you.”

Naturally, I find this lack of humanity entirely unacceptable.  As I wobble over to CVS to pick up whatever generic brand over-the-counter horse tranquilizers are on sale I am appalled to see my fellow New Yorkers going about their daily lives as if my suffering hasn’t affected them at all.  I look them in the eyes, ready to accept their unsolicited offers of Kleenex and Bouillabaisse.  But they just walk by, rushing with the unmistakable urgency of people who are late for yoga.

I consider my other options.  I live near one of the world’s most famous supermodels.  Surely she will be sympathetic and nurse me back to health.  Especially when I tell her that my plane just went down in the Hudson.

“Maybe it’s the bird flu talking,” I will say as she spoon-feeds me Robitussin, “but I think the time has come for us to have octuplets.”

But before I do anything, I call my sister, Rose.  She tells me to stop complaining and to be grateful I even have a job in this economic downturn.  Let alone a job that will pay me when I’m sick.  Something about millions of Americans who have recently been laid off and millions more who don’t have health insurance.

I try to explain to her that they are the ones who should be grateful.  Grateful they don’t have bird flu.

But she stands her ground, arguing that that we must not lose perspective on how dire the financial and employment situation has become all across America.

What can I say?  That’s my sister for you.  Completely missing the point about my bird flu.


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Filed under: 360° Radar • Economy • Health Care • Jack Gray
soundoff (56 Responses)
  1. Cessy, Chicago

    Sorry to hear that your sick Jack– I hope you are getting better everday.

    But I had to ask you this...Did you get Anderson sick? poor guy seems to be losing weight and no time to get a new tie! ( hahaha...my cousins and I are counting how many times he wears the blue tie, the silver tie and the dark/blue or black stripes tie in a week...)

    Even my cousins in the Phillipines notices this tie problem, too! Hope all is well and I pray for your speedy recovery.

    hugs from Chicago

    February 12, 2009 at 5:34 pm |
  2. Isabel Abreu, Brazil

    Hello, jack!

    How are you feeling?
    Are you feeling any better?

    Just take it easy.
    Get well soon, ok?

    And send news to bloggers, ok?


    February 12, 2009 at 12:59 pm |
  3. Roz

    Your sister (Rose) is one of the most incredible young women on earth – I KNOW!!!!! Love ya! ROz

    February 12, 2009 at 12:41 pm |
  4. Art

    This country has the bird flu!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Have a cookie Jack and go back to bed. Hope you feel better. Art

    February 12, 2009 at 7:58 am |
  5. BettyAnn, Nacogdoches,TX

    @DonWA~ Glad to help. Your doggie is perfectly normal. I hope it works for 'ole cow Pattie. And now I will can my physician and try to find something to make wine taste bad. JUST KIDDING!

    P.S. jack~Why aren't you in bed sleeping?

    February 11, 2009 at 9:14 pm |
  6. Lori from IL

    Jack -

    Sorry to hear you're sick - but kuddos for staying home and not infecting your co-workers. Most people are too inconsiderate, drag themselves into the office, infecting everyone in their path.

    Hope that your local CVS had the bird flu anit virus medication you needed. Can't imagine a world without Jack Gray and your hilarious posts.

    Thanks for all the yucks - maybe you could Twitter Anderson Cooper or someone else at CNN to bring you some chicken soup and a little TLC to make you feel better!

    February 11, 2009 at 9:08 pm |
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